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LARKANA: Maulana Abdul Rashid Soomro, a son of slain secretary general of the Sindh Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), was elected the general secretary on Sunday.

Several hundred leaders, activists and supporters attended a congregation organised by the party here also voted for the slain leader’s elder son, Maulana Nasir Mehmood Soomro, as his successor to look after the the party’s religious affairs and the family.

Maulana Rashid Soomro polled 233 votes as against the rival candidate, Maulana Abdullah Pahore’s 137.

Maulana Rashid Soomro elected Sindh general secretary of the party

JUI-F central general secretary Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri supervised the election.

Speaking after the election, the two brothers resolved to accomplish their father’s religious mission and fulfil the responsibilities assigned to them by the party. They said they were satisfied with the investigation conducted into the assassination of their father but some doubts were still there.

They said the suspects arrested in the case had pulled the trigger but the face behind the assassination were yet to be unmasked. They demanded that the killers’ mentors and handlers, who were the actual culprits, must also be exposed, arrest and punished.

‘Action against religious seminaries to be resisted’

Speaking at the congregation, Senator Haideri, declared that the JUI-F would foil all attempts to turn the country to a secular state and resist tooth and nail any move against religious seminaries.

“Terrorism must not be linked with propagation of Islam,” he said, arguing that if it was done, then how would the proposed military would try extortionists, hit men and those booked for heinous crimes like kidnapping for ransom and killings on linguistic grounds.

“We fully support moves to get terrorists convicted and believe that terrorists don’t have any norms, ideology or philosophy to follow,” he said, adding that they had nothing to do with madressahs in the country.

Insisting that the seminaries only preached Islam, he declared in unequivocal terms that ‘madressahs are here to stay and will remain here and nobody will be allowed to do any harm to them”.

“Followers of Englishmen are not powerful enough to take action against the seminaries,” he said, and warned that tolerance had its limits.

“It is beyond our comprehension that why the situation is being pushed towards a new war and why the nation is being dragged into a new set of issues and problems,” he said, and told the people at the helm of affairs that “Pakistan is not a ‘jageer’ of any an individual; we are here to resist any attempt to convert it to a secular state”.

Referring to the legislation for the establishment of military courts, Senator Haideri said it was absolutely incorrect that the JUI-F was approved of the draft when it was discussed at the meetings of parliamentary parties’ heads. “We did express our reservations, especially over the use of the words ‘religious terrorism’ and also insisted on deleting the entire portion pertaining to religious seminaries,” he said.

The senator also referred to the ‘enforced disappearance’ of many JUI-F activists, and said their whereabouts were not known since they had been picked up by law-enforcement agencies personnel. “We even don’t know whether they are still alive or not,” he said.

Mentioning repeated attempts on the life of the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, one made on his (Maulana Haideri) himself, and killing of seven former party MNAs, he said his party still exercised restraint because it pursued a policy of peace and tolerance. However, he repeated, “tolerance has its limits”.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2015

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